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Applying MyPlate to procurement in food banks: implications for policy

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Food banks are the foundation of the emergency food network, and while their chief mission is to mitigate hunger, the rise in obesity and other diet-related diseases among clientele has

Food banks are the foundation of the emergency food network, and while their chief mission is to mitigate hunger, the rise in obesity and other diet-related diseases among clientele has incited the need for better nutritional control with regards to procurement of inventory at food banks. The purpose of this research was to determine if procured inventory at United Food Bank in Mesa, Arizona could meet minimum MyPlate recommendations for a typical food bank client and what implications the results could have for future policy. Inventory data was obtained from United Food Bank for fiscal year 2013-2014 and analyzed utilizing the MyPlate Analysis Program to determine contributions of each food category to MyPlate recommendations. Inventory was separated by MyPlate food category and analyzed to determine contribution towards a meal built around MyPlate recommendations. Results showed that the inventory could meet the minimum requirements for protein and grains for a family of four for at least three days, the amount of time an emergency food box is designed to last. On the contrary, the inventory did not meet minimum vegetable, fruit or dairy requirements. These results indicate that typical food bank inventory does not meet USDA MyPlate recommendations and that having nutritional policy in place could potentially drive donations and purchases to enhance the nutritional quality of future food bank inventory.

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  • 2015

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Measuring the effects of a school and community-based dietary change intervention on the home food environment among parents with school-aged children

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Availability and accessibility of foods in the home influence dietary behaviors. However, much of the literature involving measurement of the home food environment (HFE) has examined only self-reported data, and

Availability and accessibility of foods in the home influence dietary behaviors. However, much of the literature involving measurement of the home food environment (HFE) has examined only self-reported data, and home food inventory tools have not been used to assess behavior change intervention efficacy. Thus, this quasi-experimental study was conducted to test the preliminary efficacy of a 10-week dietary behavioral intervention on the HFE, measured through the presence of fruits, vegetables, and sources of sugars in the household. Participants included 23 parents (21 females; age=36±5.5) of children 6-11 years old living in an ethnically diverse community within a Southwestern metropolitan area. Sociodemographic information was collected at baseline using a survey. A modified version of the Home Food Inventory was completed in the homes of participants by trained research assistants at baseline and following termination of the intervention. Relative to baseline, the intervention resulted in significant increases in availability of different types of fruits (7.7±3.2 vs. 9.4±3.1; p=0.004) and high fiber/low sugar cereal (2.3±1.4 vs. 2.7±1.4; p=0.033). There was a significant reduction in availability of sugar-sweetened beverages (3.2±1.9 vs. 1.7±1.3; p=0.004), and an increase in the number of households with accessible 100% fruit juice (3 vs. 17 households; p=0.001) and bottled/contained water (9 vs. 22 households; p<0.001). Moreover, there were meaningful changes in the number of households with accessible chocolate milk (7 vs. 0), strawberry milk (3 vs. 0), and diet soda pop (2 vs. 0). There was a significant increase in the number of households with accessible ready-to-eat vegetables (8 vs. 19 households; p=0.007), and ready-to-eat fruit (8 vs. 17; p=0.022), and a significant reduction in available prepared desserts (3.0±2.0 vs. 1.7±1.3; p=0.005), and candy (2.0±1.7 vs. 0.6±0.7; p<0.001). There were no significant changes in availability of vegetables and sugar-laden cereals, or accessibility of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, dry cereal, candy, soda pop, desserts, and sports/fruit drinks. Overall, results suggest that the current dietary behavior change intervention resulted in positive changes in the HFE. Further research to confirm these results in a randomized controlled trial is warranted.

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  • 2015

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Are weight and diet related to the gut microbiome in healthy college students living in the dorms?: a cross-sectional observational analysis

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College weight gain and obesity are significant problems impacting our society, leading to a considerable number of comorbidities during and after college. Gut microbiota are increasingly recognized for their

College weight gain and obesity are significant problems impacting our society, leading to a considerable number of comorbidities during and after college. Gut microbiota are increasingly recognized for their role in obesity and weight gain. Currently, research exploring the gut microbiome and its associations with dietary intake and body mass index (BMI) is limited among this population. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess associations between the gut microbiome, BMI, and dietary intake in a population of healthy college students living in two dorms at Arizona State University (n=90). Cross-sectional analyses were undertaken including 24-hour dietary recalls and anthropometrics (height, weight and BMI). High throughput Bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing of fecal samples was performed to quantify the gut microbiome and analyses were performed at phyla and family levels. Within this population, the mean BMI was 24.4 ± 5.3 kg/m2 and mean caloric intake was 1684 ± 947 kcals/day. Bacterial community analysis revealed that there were four predominant phyla and 12 predominant families accounting for 99.3% and 97.1% of overall microbial communities, respectively. Results of this study suggested that a significant association occurred between one principal component (impacted most by 22 microbial genera primarily within Firmicutes) and BMI (R2=0.053, p=0.0301). No significant correlations or group differences were observed when assessing the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in relation to BMI or habitual dietary intake. These results provide a basis for gut microbiome research in college populations. Although, findings suggest that groups of microbial genera may be most influential in obesity, further longitudinal research is necessary to more accurately describe these associations over me. Findings from future research may be used to develop interventions to shift the gut microbiome to help moderate or prevent excess weight gain during this important life stage.

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  • 2016